Spring is just around the corner and it’s the time when our thoughts naturally turn to outdoor activities. Looking forward to hiking, biking, gardening, and being out in our yards with family and friends, are some of the best things about the coming warmer days.

As you’re planning your yard projects this spring and summer, your friends at Lone Tree Veterinary Medical Center would like remind you of the often ignored, yet, extremely important topic of metal lawn edging and the risks it poses to pets. Let’s discuss pet safe lawn edging that will help keep your pet safer and still dazzle your landscaping niche.

Out with the Old

Lawn edging is typically used to define the border of a yard or garden, creating a more definitive transition between grassy areas, paths, and planted or landscaped areas, as well as preventing wood mulch from migrating into the grass. Traditional lawn edging is made of metal with an unfinished, sharp top edge, and is usually buried just below the surface of the sod.

Although, metal lawn edging is somewhat hidden, it isn’t always and, over time, it tends to protrude above the lawn’s surface as the landscape materials around it settle. Either way, that sharp metal edge across the top poses an injury risk to pets.

It is all too common for us to see dogs that have stepped or tripped on lawn edging and cut their toes or the soft tissue in between their toes. These injuries range from minor cuts to serious lacerations, damage to tendons that requires surgery, and even the loss of one or more toes.

Covering the edging is only a temporary solution, as the sharp metal will eventually cut through even the best covering, so it is a good idea to look at other options.

Pet Safe Lawn Edging

The best way to protect your pets from metal lawn edging that has a sharp top edge is to remove it. The following alternatives will help you create a safer yard for your pet, while still maintaining the border between your lawn and non-grassy areas:

  • Roll top edging—This pet and child-safe version of metal lawn edging has a rolled top, so there is no sharp top edge to cut into a pet’s paw or leg. It comes in different gauges (thicknesses), and we recommend a thicker gauge and one that is galvanized, so it won’t rust. If your pet steps on it, the paw may still become bruised and sore, but the chances of a serious laceration are greatly reduced.
  • Other pet-safe edging—Plastic rounded top edging, brick pavers, poured concrete edging, and concrete blocks all offer safe options for separating grassy and non-grassy areas.
  • Vegetation—Bushes and low-lying shrubs can also be creatively used as safe alternatives to metal edging. Protect your pet further by choosing pet-friendly plants and shrubbery that do not have thorns.
  • Wood—Pressure-treated wood can make for an attractive division between the lawn and planted areas, and can also serve as an effective barrier.
  • Rock mulch—Rounded rock mulch, such as river stone, is a another good alternative to traditional edging. Steer clear of small granite rock or any other sharp-edged stone, as it could injure your pet if stepped on.

Protecting Your Pet

The injuries that occur as a result of sharp metal lawn edging are often severe, usually expensive to treat, and may leave your pet with some long-term damage. We recommend not allowing your dog to play in an unfamiliar yard until you have inspected it for the presence of metal lawn edging. If it’s snowy and you aren’t able to see the ground, keep your pet on a leash for his or her safety, as lawn edging injuries are common in the winter, too.

As always, if you have any questions about home and yard safety for your pet, please don’t hesitate to contact the staff at Lone Tree Veterinary Medical Center.